Classy bar with a literary theme and a long, long whiskey menu. Don’t miss the multi-tiered beer garden
Charles Bukowski was a man not exactly averse, shall we say, to the occasional drink. This upscale bourbon joint and restaurant named in his literary alter-ego Hank Chinaski’s honour is a damn sight classier than the kind of Los Angeles dives in which the notorious barfly liked to wet his whistle, but he’d have surely approved of the sheer volume of whiskey on sale, if nothing else – 80-odd varieties, besides various other good beers, wines and spirits.
With its un-showy turquoise frontage and no sign over the door, you can easily walk past Chinaski’s without noticing it’s there, and that’s kind of the idea – discerning, well-informed drinkers and diners are the target clientele, not just random footfall. Inside, it’s dark, discreet and unselfconsciously hip. A huge portrait of Buk, girl in arm, peers down glumly from one wall among other assorted paraphernalia relating to the cult American writer, while across the room colourful fish circle in a large tank. There’s a very cool little multi-tiered beer garden out the back.
The food is a well-balanced mix of European, Eastern and American styles. Starters such as king prawn tempura and macaroni cheese come in big portions. Mains range from blowtorched Coca-Cola chicken to vodka and beer-battered haddock and chips, and one of the best burgers in Glasgow – succulent, well-presented and full of good, fresh ingredients (cheese, jalapenos, chorizo, onion rings, gherkins). Since 2011, Chinaski’s has been flanked by and adjoined to its sister nightclub and music venue The Berkeley Suite. At weekends the bar buzzes with a party crowd in for a pre-club bite and drink.
239 North Street